Happy Stories About Well-Adjusted People: An Ollmann Omnibus

Joe Ollmann. Conundrum, $20 ISBN 978-1-894-99486-6
Ollmann, a Doug Wright Award–winning cartoonist who has been poised for the big time with the graphic novels Mid Life and Science Fiction, has developed his own niche in the realm of first-person fiction. This collection of shorter works features a parade of misfits telling their own stories, filtered through Ollmann’s honesty and self-deprecation and offering the same uncomfortable moments and embarrassing truths that one might encounter in a confessional autobiography. Each story is a perilous examination of the ways that human mundaneness can hurt, with characters who seem to suddenly realize the consequences of taking a wrong turn just past the fork in the road: a meek office worker forced into a hunting trip with his coworkers to prove his masculinity; a drunken loser who finds himself saddled with caring for his special-needs older brother after their alcoholic mother falls ill; a Catholic girl trying to wrestle with her faith and the death of her mother as she becomes a grownup. Ollmann’s quirky, blocky art lends just the right amount of irreverence to the situations—he wouldn’t be out of place in Mad—but never undercuts the dignity of the characters. (Oct. )
Reviewed on: 10/06/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Comics
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